Cashews are a delicious and nutritious nut from South America

Cashews are a delicious and nutritious nut from South America
Picture: Raja Rc | Dreamstime
Victoria Mamaeva
Pharmaceutical Specialist

If a few years ago, cashew nuts were a kind of exotic, today this product has become a familiar addition to the daily diet.

Delicious and nutritious, these nuts have won the hearts of many. However, who among us knows anything about cashews? How does this nut grow? Is it good for the body? Can it do harm? And if so, in what cases is this possible? We will try to answer these and some other questions.

How cashews grow

It should be noted that cashews are not quite similar to nuts in the usual sense of the word. And the first difference that catches your eye is its appearance. Cashew is not only a nut kernel, but also a special fruit. Outwardly, they are a bit like an apple – the same red, poured and juicy. The tart, pleasant aroma and sour-sweet taste of these fruits make them suitable not only for eating raw, but also for making jams, juices, alcoholic drinks and compotes.

Cashew
Picture: Antonio De Azevedo Negrão | Dreamstime

However, only those people who live in cashew growing countries will be able to taste delicious fruits. The problem is that cashew apples spoil so quickly that they cannot be transported almost anywhere. But cashew nuts are great for transportation. That is why the collected cashews are transported to many countries of the world, where they are bought with pleasure.

By the way, have you ever paid attention to the fact that you never see cashew nuts for sale in the shell? And this happens because between the surface of the nut and its shell is a very dangerous substance – cardol. This substance is so toxic that it can cause severe burns on the skin.

Figs are one of the most ancient cultivated plants
Figs are one of the most ancient cultivated plants

That is why only very experienced nutcrackers are engaged in cutting cashews. However, do not worry about the fact that cashews can be dangerous to eat. Indeed, after the nuts are cut, they undergo the most thorough processing: the shell is removed, and the toxic substances completely disappear when the cashews undergo heat treatment.

History

Originally, cashew nuts appeared in distant South America. The Tikuna Indian tribe, which lived in those ancient times on the territory of modern Brazil, successfully cultivated cashews.

Moreover, not only nuts and fruits were used, but also the leaves and bark of this plant, which is truly universal in terms of the spectrum of use. In addition, the cashew tree is so unpretentious that caring for it was not the slightest difficulty for the Indians.

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Feijoa: the benefits of a subtropical berry

Well, cashew nuts came to European lands, as you might guess, along with sailors returning from distant countries. It happened five centuries ago, and since then, cashews have confidently held a leading position in the hearts of many connoisseurs of delicious food. Today, cashews are grown not only in Latin America, but also in other countries that boast a warm climate – these are India, Kenya, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and other states.

Benefits of cashew nuts

The benefits of cashews, when used correctly, can hardly be overestimated. Due to the fact that this nut contains such useful macronutrients as potassium, phosphorus, calcium and sodium, vitamins E, PP, saturated fatty acids, mono- and disaccharides, as well as many other components important for the body, it is almost useful to eat it. everyone. Therefore, if you properly balance the consumption of cashews, it will help you enrich the body with the substances it needs.

Cashew
Picture: Priyanka Das Kanungo | Dreamstime

It is easy to guess that cashews also have medicinal properties. As experts from Japan note, these nuts contain special components that help to cope with pathogenic bacteria that destroy tooth enamel. However, not only Japanese scientists are of this opinion: African doctors also practice the treatment of dental diseases using chopped cashew nuts. Yes, and our domestic dentists advise their patients to use cashews.

Another beneficial property of cashew nuts is that they play an important role in the prevention of skin diseases. That is why cashews will be useful for patients suffering from eczema and psoriasis. In addition, cashews have a beneficial effect on the fight against warts, dermatitis, and cracks that appear on the skin.

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Asparagus is the queen of the kitchen

In addition, cashews are considered an aphrodisiac. It will be useful for both men and women. Due to the fact that this miracle nut contains a significant amount of vitamin E, it has a beneficial effect on the reproductive function of the body.

But that’s not all. Regular consumption of cashew nuts in reasonable doses can have a beneficial effect on strengthening the entire immune system as a whole. In Brazil, where cashews come from, a decoction made from nuts is used to treat asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory diseases. In addition, moderate regular consumption of cashews helps to normalize cholesterol levels. Also, these nuts are good for the heart and blood vessels. What can I say: the antiseptic, antibacterial, antimicrobial and tonic properties of cashews make these nuts truly healing!

Is there any harm?

As we said above, it is very dangerous to eat raw cashews because of the cardol contained in it. Not only can this substance cause serious skin burns: if it gets inside the body, the consequences can be extremely unpleasant.

Cardol can cause severe allergies, swelling of the larynx, and even asthma attacks. But in the fried form, the cardol is completely neutralized, so after heat treatment, you can use cashews completely fearlessly. In addition, special attention should be paid to people prone to allergic reactions to many foods, because in rare cases, cashews can cause allergies.

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